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Letters to Cyclingnews - November 12, 2004
I want to congratulate Scott on his long and outstanding career and thank him for his insights into the world of professional cycling.
It is unfortunate that the peloton will be losing one of its most classy riders.
Scott's contributions to Cyclingnews were always very interesting and I for one will miss his diary updates, they were always full of truth, spiced up with some great Aussie humor.
Scott Sunderland has left a profound impression. To name the most rewarding moment in his career having his son share in his Tour de France experience was something which surely left no-one untouched.
Congratulations again to Scott for being one of the greatest Aussies ever in cycling, he has had a brilliant career and I wish him the best of luck in his new job.
Scott Sunderland #2
Scott, congratulations on the career move and a fantastic cycling career! CSC will be the team to beat in 2005 for sure now.
Mr. Kilmer, we think alike sir. I would one more thing to your comments on the expense of bicycle trends. I went carbon crazy just like everyone else did. I bought myself a Trek 5200 3 years ago... and liked the ride so much I bought myself a Project One 5900 a year later. Before these two expensive purchases I owned a 1990 Bianchi Eros... Steel frame... nothing special about the components (I think they were SunTour). As I remember it, it was about $750 when I bought it. I loved that bike and owned it for almost 12 years. Every time I would see the bike I'd get an urge to ride it.
I had an emotional connection to the bike. You could say I had feelings toward that bike that a samurai would have toward his sword. Well that bike bit the dust in a Bike vs Car accident (which funded the purchases of my Treks, I'll add). I have had my new bikes for a while now (one for three years.. the other for almost two) and I have yet to feel toward them as I did that steel, heavy, unsophisticated Bianchi. Sure they look pretty to your friends but I feel they have no soul. I think its all the carbon. I think we should make a call for a retro movement!
In short, trends do not translate well to the soul.
Why are cyclists so trendy? #2
If you have to ask, you're just not cool enough…
Why are cyclists so trendy? #3
I laugh about this all the time. I bought used Dura Ace eight-speed sets when nine speed came out. I am still using the three groups. The most unbeatable age group amateur I know rides old steel stuff. The reason some cyclists are trendy is that they want to make up for their training deficiency with the wallets. Bike shops are standing ready to help them and support them in that quest. What amazes me most is the money dumped by casual riders who never race and have no intention of even positioning to contend a sprint even on a training ride. All those folks could be riding entry level bikes and upgrade the wheels, derailleurs, and shifters after a couple years of abuse.
I have been guilty of chasing speed with my wallet, but I train seriously and race a little. I can say that none of these attempts has ever won me a race or a sprint. I'd take a cheap no frills aluminum frame any day as long as I get some nice sew-ups and a unworn, clean drivetrain.
Name withheld - I have friends in the bike business.
The best way for Simeoni to fix his problem is to shut up, train harder, and ride the other challengers off his wheel! I know (by experience) it's tough to talk (and thereby make deals) when you are red-lining! That would end the discussions quick!
Armstrong and Simeoni #2
Joe; absolutely. How could Armstrong "tarnish" the yellow jersey in this way? Clean riders don't need protection! Let Simeoni ride. What is it to Armstrong?
Armstrong and Simeoni #3
How can anyone believe that the peloton is full of illicit drug-enhanced riders? This is clearly a demonstration of blatant criticism and misguided ignorance. Riders, like Armstrong, even push for the latest drug tests to keep abuse out of the peloton. The accusations of "dirty riders" and a huge "conspiracy" "to protect the dirty riders" are ludicrous. (That would mean every official and drug testing agency was involved in a huge cover-up.)
Greg LeMond too, once again, recently made some very poor comments of drug abuse on OLN(USA). His claim, based on the results of the 1991 Tour, (no real evidence, just Greg's apparent deluded imagination) was that all 6 men who finished faster than him had to be using something that made them faster than humanly possible. It is this kind of mental poison that Simeoni and others are infecting your mind with, to the detriment of the sport of cycling.
It is the clean riders who are racing against Simeoni's debased accusations (and yours). I wish that those who want to accuse a rider's good reputation (or the peloton's) not be heard or printed without evidence. The fact is, over 99% have tested clean. It is not a "conspiracy" therefore, if individuals in the peloton want to win rather than let someone like Simeoni lead the race.
Armstrong and Simeoni#4
In response to Mr. Joe Clapp; I believe it's called "flicking" (?). Show yourself to be a liability to cycling by your actions and your mouth; then, suffer the consequences in the peloton. You have no grounds for complaints!
Code of silence? It's OK to speak out, of course; just don't go around accusing others as the cause of your own mistakes and your own sorry attitude.
The clean riders don't get "squealed" on? One does come to mind. Even though I'm not a particular fan of Cedric Vasseur, didn't he just go through... heck... in 2004?
I'm quite certain that there are many cyclists who have been squealed on by other cyclists--some of whom, although innocent, haven't been able to prove their innocence.
The peloton's retaliation against Signor Filippo Simeoni is meant to protect the dirty cyclists and drive him from the sport? By that, Mr. Clapp, are you implying that Simeoni is a clean rider? I'll give Simeoni the benefit of the doubt in that TODAY he probably IS a clean rider; but, it is a known fact that he hasn't always been one. A conspiracy? What conspiracy?! Go back to the beginning of this letter to find out what it takes to make "many" cyclists turn against one cyclist. Enough said!
Mary Ann Blood
Tom, if you aren't finding cycling women in Chapel Hill, you my friend aren't looking hard enough. My wife is from Paris, and that's where we live, but Chapel Hill is her favorite town to ride in America. Just cruise on down to Weaver Street Market and grab try to find a spot to park your bike in the bike rack if you can! And then just wait for the beauties to cruise on in. Of course, its a whole lot better in the summer...
If that fails, check out Tempe AZ, Missoula MT, Boulder and Colorado Springs CO, and Ashland, Eugene, and Portland OR.
Best of luck!
Where to find cycling spouses #2
Okay, those people that are searching for cycling spouses should definitely attend many of the organized invitationals and tours that are held throughout the world. Many women participate in those rides; I thought this was obvious!
Of course, this brings up another question which always bothers me when I hear the complain of not having a "significant other" to ride with. She won't ride with you, or YOU won't ride with her? Sometimes you have to SLOW down to enjoy a ride with your partner, or family, specially if they are new to the sport! Okay?
Woyteck A. Morajko
Why is Lance (or anyone else) callous for not watching the Worlds? Did you watch it? I see you’re from the USA, too, yet I saw no listing for the race in my cable market, and could only read live coverage on CyclingNews.com to know what happened in a timely manner. OLN tv has shown precious little cycling since the TdeF, and a month-late Vuelta wrap-up show with no Worlds, no fall World Cup, no TdeF 2005 reveal show. All that’s left is a US Thanksgiving TdeF highlights re-rebroadcast. So let us in on the source for watching the Worlds, we don’t want to be “callous” like Lance for not watching what isn’t on TV—the cad. And way to go Dave Zabriskie on your new contract with CSC—good on ya CSC for a wise selection.
Lance on Italian selection #2
In response to Todd Dunn's letter. Armstrong rode the races he wanted, yes he won the one that mattered, but then he disappeared. Where is the giving something back to the sport and then also giving back to his team-mates? Is it such a coincidence that the best of his team-mates (except Hincapie and Ekimov), jump ship and try and find other teams that may support them?
Contrast this with two of the younger stars, Cunego and Valverde. Damiano Cunego, he may be young but he won races prior to the Giro, then won the Giro, then started winning in August and finished off by winning the Tour of Lombardy. That is all about giving the spectators the opportunity to see him. He even rode the Vuelta to find his form; oh and he traveled to bike shows in between.
Then we move onto Valverde for Spain, he races when he can (Kelme willing) throughout the season and always with the aim of winning. Is it any wonder the sport is looking towards these two riders as the future, they race/win all year and can also compete in the big tours.
This is why so many people complain about Armstrong, if only he rode some more races after the Tour, so the fans could see him. Armstrong is a one trick pony (albeit very good), but until he gives something back to the sport and his team, he will always have more critics than fans.
Thank you Jim, Colin, and Dave for responding to my query in such detail; to hear from a physician/cyclist who has the same problem is particularly helpful, and I learned more from your responses than I did at the doctors'. I am forty-eight, and train year-round, twelve to eighteen hours a week. The birth of a second child last year put a big dent in this schedule, and last July I stopped training to concentrate on work. After two months the AF began.
I thought at first it was the ill effect of deconditioning, but after a few days I asked my wife to listen, and she confirmed what I felt. My stepfather is a cardiologist who has given me stress tests in the past out of curiosity - I was the only patient of his ever to complete them- and he suggested I had premature heartbeat. At his recommendation I went out training to see whether a normal rhythm would return, but it did not. My heart sounded like a boiling pot of mud when I put a stethoscope to my chest.
After several visits to specialists, and almost four weeks of warfarin I had a TEE, then a cardioversion, which was such a welcome relief that it seemed like magic. Waking up to a steady forty-seven beats a minute was the best birthday present I could imagine. I started on my bike the next day, and three weeks on I am beginning to feel halfway decent. The beta-blocker I take, 25mg of Toprol, seems to act as a governor on my heartrate. Going up hills is a bit of a chore, but I can see progress already, and am optimistic that I'll be able to keep up with the pack by next July or so.
One thing that alarmed me a bit was to hear my cardiologist mention that overtraining can damage an athlete's heart. I wonder about the cyclists whose deaths I read of in Cyclingnews, and what my have happened to them?
Again, thank you for your replies, and thank you Cyclingnews for this forum.
Heart troubles #2
I tried to contact Jay Dwight by phone, without success. I have deep experience with atrial fibrillation and much advice for him about riding a bike with it. Lone AF will lop 15% or more off of Jay's peak performance levels, while the beta blockers and ACE inhibitors used to treat it will suck his breath. Ultimately, the choice is either to accept one's reduced limits or (as Dave advised) undergo catheter ablation. There is no need for Jay to travel from New York to Cleveland or Minneapolis for the procedure. NYU has one of the principal cardiac electrophysiology departments, located at the Heart Rhythm Center on East 34th Street.
While I agree that l'Etape is a great experience, and being a stage of the Tour de France it's probably the most prestigious of all the "cyclo-sportif" rides, it's by no means the only race of it's kind, and very often nowhere near the biggest challenge.
Can I suggest that those who are unable to get an entry this year - and even some of those who do - investigate some of the hundreds of other races like it all over Europe.
Great, or even greater physical challenges include the Gran Fondo Campagnolo (granfondocampagnolo.it), 207km and over 4500m of climbing; the Marmotte (www.sportcommunication.com), a French cyclo-sportif race taking in the Croix de Fer, Telegraph, Galibier and Alpe d'Huez; the Tour of Flanders (www.sport.be/eng/rondevanvlaanderen/) 270km - the entire route of the World Cup race ridden the Day before. The list is almost endless...
Europe is filled with all kinds of these races - in Italy there's a "Granfondo" pretty much every week in pretty much every region. Many of these are as big a challenge - and as much fun - as l'Etape, and generally are much easier to enter.
Try one, you'll be hooked - like I am...
l'Etape du Tour registration #2
I support firstname.lastname@example.org.
The price of a simple Etape ticket has increased for an international entrant. Only pre-booked tickets are available. In 2003 I paid £32. In 2005 it will be £100. I don’t need a pre-booked ticket. Projecting this increased price over the next five years gives a price uplift of £340 – a pair of Ksyrium wheels.
Ticket availability has decreased for the international entrant. Previously I competed with 7500 others to obtain an Etape ticket. Now there are below 300 pre-booked tickets. The sole sources are the major cycling travel agent who released 100 – sold these, released a further 100 and some available privately. The market is rigged.
Demand for tickets by international entrants has increased fuelled by the Etape organisation and travel agents publicity. Cycling magazine publicity stimulates new Etape riders to enter the event, panics riders to enter early before even route announcement. Tickets are released in small batches to suggest a ticket-famine. The Great Etape Bubble.
Preferences of Etape riders are ignored. Around 2000+ international riders were in the 2004 Etape with around 1000 going on package holidays, the rest arranging their own accommodation. The new system reverses this by forcing riders to take the more expensive package holiday option. No more 3 week tours with family. Chambres d’Hote suffer while ski-hotels benefit.
International entrants are viewed as a soft market manipulated for excess revenue. This predatory pricing will not work in France because of availability of similar events such as the Marmotte charging prices of around 30 euros.
The Cyclo-Sportive is a ‘product’ owing success to participation of riders and voluntary helpers within an organisational structure. It isn’t a pair of Ksyriums
I agree it's best to be rid of the new team time trial rules. There is however a far simpler way to limit the gaps and at the same time help riders who may get dropped. Have the race distance 40km not 66km. The spectacle of the event is still there, plenty of room for all the spectators to line the course, each team competes equally and the time gaps will be a true indicator of the results. When they are racing up to 235km in the normal stages and 55km individually would it really matter if the team event is a little shorter?
To Ross Mackay who wondered where some of the past Australian riders were (or are), this is what I can help you with (as I don’t know the riders personally, this may be inaccurate!)
Tom Leaper – Last rode as a professional with the US team, Navigators in 2002, and probably rode his last elite races in January of the following year at the Australian Road Championships, presumably to maintain a professional status. Whereabouts from that period on unknown?
Marcel Gono – hit the jackpot when he was contracted in 2001 to ride for the (in)famous Linda McCartney team after riding a few seasons with Stuart O’Grady in the Credit Agricole team. Of course, the team went bust and I believe for the rest of that season, went back to an ‘elite’ status for his old elite club (was it Cafe Baque?). For the past two seasons he has been riding in the Czech Republic for the eD-Systems – ZVVZ team.
Peter Rogers – another rider thought to have made the big break when he made it to the Linda McCartney team after riding for the ‘love and life’ (Amore & Vita) team in Italy. Did ride for a few races for the iteamnova team in 2002 and I believe went to Germany for 2003? As quoted by John Deering in ‘Team on the Run’ (the Linda McCartney cycling team story): “Last heard of working in his brother’s bike shop in Canberra. ‘I got an offer to go to Switzerland with Macca (David McKenzie for the 2001 season) but I can’t afford to ride for no money again.” That after he paid he own way to London for the McCartney presentation, only to find there was no team to ride for.
Jason Phillips – has been around in Germany for nearly ten years now riding for the smaller teams in that country; this year was riding for the Frankfurt – Brugelmann ‘radteam’ with Scott McGrory. Always finds the time to ride in the later season criteriums in Australia, such as Noosa.
Josh Collingwood – Last remembered that he rode for the US based Jelly Belly team a few seasons ago, a quick web search has found him embarking on a medical science degree during 2002 at Charles Sturt – graduating this year perhaps?
Brad Davidson – the two seasons for Saeco is all I know about this rider.
Now, can someone be of help to me – what happened to Jay Sweet? Rode in the 1999 Tour de France and stayed in France with the Big Mat team until 2002 where he rode for US team Saturn. Then went back to France to ride for St Quentin-Oktos, but was apparently sacked (?) by them during the season. I guess he has retired but will always remember him from the 1999 Tour when he never gave up and was only eliminated from the Tour when finishing out of time. Anyone?
Merci, Sebastien, and thank you Cyclingnews for making my eyes mist over, and warming my heart. After this past week's election, it is so welcome to consider the happenstance of a love at first sight.
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